As Jonah Weiner of Slate Magazine notes, we've seen a sharp decrease in journalism dedicated to arts criticism, of the
non-blogging variety. Mr. Weiner writes specifically about why music mags are
fading from view, which, I sheepishly admit, I hadn't really noticed. Like many
others, I let my subscriptions to Spin
and Rolling Stone lapse, content to
pay the stand price if I saw a particularly interesting story advertised on the
front cover. The folding of Vibe and Blender are echoes of the larger state
of arts journalism as a whole; musical, visual and otherwise.
Which is why The National Arts Journalism Summit is so important.
On October 2, art writers from around the world will meet at
UCLA to develop new and sustainable models of arts journalism. New business
models and innovative practices will be presented and explained so that the
writing community as a whole may review and consider implementing them. This is
the first time that the Summit will meet and I have high hopes for the results.
It gives me great pleasure to see those in the arts community banding together
to keep a very necessary part of the art world - reflection and writing about
current events and practices - alive.
One of my very favorite writers, András Szántó, who until
recently led the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, wrote
an article for the Art Newspaper called, "With Newspapers in Terminal Decline, What Future for
He very succinctly outlines some exciting options for the
future of arts journalism and ends his incisive essay with this:
Amid the gloom and doom about arts journalism,
innovations offer a glimmer of hope.
There is no going back to the
cultural and advertising dominance that newspapers once
enjoyed. We should be mindful that the emerging
landscape offers asymmetrical
odds for art criticism (which
can survive by the labour of individual writers) and
arts reporting (which requires institutional
firepower and protections). Writers
will struggle to reclaim the
access and influence they achieved with the backing of
brands. Even so, the faint outlines of a
new system are starting
While I will mourn
the slow death of the printed word, I look forward to the future of the